Microsoft is set to donate US$1 billion in cloud services to non-profit organisations and universities.
In a blog post published today, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said the plan is to give access to the same cloud tools to non-profits, charities and researchers that might not be able to afford it.
The program is estimated to reach over 70,000 non-profit and non-governmental organisations globally over the next three years.
“If cloud computing is one of the most important transformations of our time, how do we ensure that its benefits are universally accessible?” said Nadella.
“What if only wealthy societies have access to the data, intelligence, analytics and insights that come from the power of mobile and cloud computing?”
According to another blog post from Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, a separate Microsoft Cloud non-profit program will be established to manage the fund and provide cloud services globally.
Services that will specifically be included are Microsoft Azure, Enterprise Mobility Suite, CRM Online and Office 365. Researchers will also be granted free Azure storage under the Microsoft Azure for Research program.
Smith also announced that the program will look to fund low-cost broadband connectivity in underserved communities. Microsoft would invest in new technology combined with free cloud services to connect more communities in rural areas around the world.
“Our approach reflects the unmet need we see in communities around the world, the confidence we have in the ability of non-profits and researchers to solve these challenges, and the ambition we have for Microsoft Philanthropies to drive digital inclusion and empowerment programs around the world,” said Smith.
Nadella is expected to provide more detail on the donation later today at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.